Five cruise liners and close to 5,000 visitors have arrived at the ports of Scarborough and Charlotteville since the opening of the 2019/2020 cruise season in November. The start to the season, which runs till April 2020, has seen well over 1,000 tours sold as visitors look to capitalise on their brief stay.
The first vessel to dock at the Scarborough Port was luxury cruise liner MS Hamburg on November 27. It was followed by the Marella Explorer II on December 2 and then the MS Volendam on Friday. The latest vessels, Costa Magica and Pacific Princess, arrived almost simultaneously on Sunday.
Twenty-six other calls are expected for the rest of the season, bringing an estimated 27,000 tourists to the island.
Speaking with Newsday on Sunday, THA Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips said she was pleased with the start of the season.
“The figures thus far and those projected indicate that Destination Tobago has been receiving positive international attention,” she said pointing to Sunday’s arrivals, which she described as “notable.”
The Division of Tourism announced on its Facebook page that over 800 passengers from Costa Magica and Pacific Princess had pre-booked tours and showed footage of visitors kayaking along No Man's Land.
“We have the Costa Magica and the Pacific Princess calling simultaneously at the Scarborough Port with a combined passenger capacity of 4,296. From the information I have received, many of these passengers have scheduled tours to local sites and attractions like Pigeon Point, Buccoo, the Argyle Waterfall, Little Tobago and the rain forest,” Stewart-Phillips said.
"As a result of this, many local service providers and tourism partners such as our tour guides, taxi drivers and local artisans continue to benefit from the flow in tourist traffic, which will augur well for the island's economic activity.”
On Friday the Alpha Pan Pioneers Steel Orchestra welcomed visitors with a performance at the Scarborough Esplanade, continuing a trend of giving tourists a cultural welcome as they stepped onto Tobago soil.
A number of calls are also scheduled for the Charlotteville Port, with the next arrival there being the Sea Dream II on January 8.
“This is a welcome tourism boost for the local community,” Stewart-Phillips said.
“I am quite optimistic that the ongoing efforts of the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd to increase international arrivals to Tobago by sea and by air will continue to yield positive rewards.”
She also commended the stakeholder partners like the Buccoo Village Council for capitalising on the opportunities presented and creating new products to enhance the visitor experience. The village council recently launched its Buccoo passport initiative, providing tourism packages for various Buccoo activities.
“I urge us all to do whatever we can to ensure that our visitors enjoy a memorable stay so that they are encouraged to return,” Stewart-Phillips added.
The next call will be the Viking Sea, expected at the Scarborough Port on January 7.